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12 Secrets to Successful Email Marketing

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To help you get started with a fresh new email marketing start in 2012, we are bringing you our latest whitepaper. Successful email marketing requires more than writing a few paragraphs of copy and sending it out to your distribution list. Email campaigns can be complex, require careful strategic thought, planning and testing and the right follow up.

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12 Secrets to Successful Email Marketing

  1. 1. whitEPaPEr JANUARY 2012 BESt PracticES in EMail MarkEting 12 Secrets to Successful Email Marketing MaxiMizE your EMail MarkEting invEStMEnt with actionaBlE StratEgy, contEnt, tESting, liSt ManagEMEnt and oPtiMizEd dElivEraBility © Mailigen Ltd. All rights reserved 01/2012. Mailigen Email Marketing Solutions
  2. 2. 12 SecretS to SucceSSful email marketing 2 12 SecretS to SucceSSful email marketing Successful Email marketing attracts interest in and builds buzz for your products and services, generating sales. Email marketing is one of the most important tools in your marketing program, extending the reach of your messages and engaging your audience. When used correctly, email marketing is a powerful marketing technique. Marketers spend time and money nurturing sales leads. Email marketing facilitates sales lead nurturing and conversion. Get the most out of your email programs and effectively nurture leads with our ten best practices to increase your open rates, clicks and conversions while developing customer relationships. This whitepaper is a best practice guide to optimizing your email marketing programs. There’s no one size fits all approach but these are 10 best practices for email marketing success that will help your business or organization whether you are just getting started or trying to take your marketing to the next level. the 12 SecretS 1. Know the Problem 2. Build Permission Based Lists 3. Monitor your delivery and reputation 4. Create Great Content 5. Automate Whenever Possible 6. Keep a Clean List 7. Get the Timing Right 8. Integration Social Media 9. Enable Mobile 10. Test, Test, Test 11. Measure Your Results 12. Collect Customer Feedback © mailigen ltd. all rights reserved 01/2012. mailigen email marketing Solutions Phone: (+1) 718 303 1864
  3. 3. 12 SecretS to SucceSSful email marketing 3 1. know the Problem 3. monitor Your DeliverY anD rePutation When you use email marketing, it’s important to know the prob- Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other large-volume email lem you are trying to solve. Are you trying to increase sales or offer receivers have rules set up regarding filtering email. That means a new service? You may be trying to create brand awareness or these rules determine whether or not your marketing messages marketing buzz over a new product introduction. Email market- ever even make it to the recipient’s inbox. Email coming from ing can help build the relationships necessary to drive sales or IP addresses with a poor reputation are usually rejected at the generate interest in a product purchase. In either scenario, email gateway. Even a slight negative reputation can trigger a filtering marketing keeps your brand or organization top of mind for the process to review the content of your message, which may also customer. impact deliverability. Factors impacting your reputation include spam and complaints. In a survey, eMarketer reported that 56.4% of US Adult Internet Users responding clicked on email above other select online mar- Senders who place an emphasis on permission based email mar- keting formats such as advertisements or video. The survey tells keting and managing their lists to keep them clean havie a much us people trust email marketing as a viable source of information better reputation and therefore delivery rate. when sent properly. Consumer trust directly influences sales. Email marketing requires well-stated objectives, set goals for 4. create great content your email marketing campaign. In developing your objectives, remember you are trying to solve a problem. That may require a Great content lets you build a strong and more engaging relation- competitive analysis. It will include valuating your offerings, audi- ship with customers and prospects. It will also streamline your re- ences, content and call to action. sponse times and help deliver your email marketing objectives re- lated to revenue, lead generation, loyalty and building customer relationships. Email marketing content helps you connect with 2. builD PermiSSion baSeD liStS your audience and send less frequent messages by delivering highly relevant content. Your email list is the lifeblood of email marketing, with out the list of email subscribers you have no one to communicate with Want your email to get opened? Of course you do, that’s why you through email marketing. Acquiring and using an email address should include a clear “from” address and subject line grabbing requires permission. The permission includes the frequency of their attention. Content should also include as much personaliza- the content and type of content the subscriber receives. People tion as appropriate and possible with an obvious hook to entice are willing to share their email addresses when you provide rel- action. evant, meaningful content for them to consume. Your email should have a reason to act and a simple, easy way to While it is an attractive short cut if you are just getting started, respond. Make sure to repeat the call to action at least twice, if not purchasing email lists is not a best practice in email marketing. more. And remember you are sending the email to accomplish Usually you cannot confirm where the email addresses on the list a marketing objective, so craft your main message to establish came from or if permission was granted. This risk is not worth your your offering in an engaging way. Include a link to a landing page reputation. Attracting subscribers is a deliberate process but ul- to deliver a deeper experience with your content. If you want to timately will provide you with the right list of people to engage. further increase your ROI, and who doesn’t, do not include com- Permission-based marketing allows you to build trust and cred- peting links and make sure to only focus on one call to action. ibility with your target audience. You will find greater opportuni- You have enough competition, you don’t need to compete with ties to provide value to the recipient and even close more deals. yourself. © mailigen ltd. all rights reserved 01/2012. mailigen email marketing Solutions Phone: (+1) 718 303 1864
  4. 4. 12 SecretS to SucceSSful email marketing 4 5. automate whenever PoSSible 6. keeP a clean liSt Make it easier to manage responses to prospects by using the Successful email marketers are exceptional email list builders and automation features in your email marketing software. Email diligently manage the list of subscribers to maintain a clean list. marketing automation allows you to automatically manage Getting started is easy, just determine what type of list you want the targeting, timing and content of your email marketing for your email marketing program. Do you want one list with no campaigns. Rather than responding individually to each grouping? You may want to have multiple lists depending on your customer or lead, leverage the autoresponders in your software product or service offering. Some marketers prefer one list with platform to customize content and automate the timing of the multiple groupings to segment different types of content and communication. customer interests. With automation you can generate, engage and nurture customers Regardless of the type of list you prefer, keep it clean. Using out- to complete the critical follow up required to drive conversions. dated lists can trigger ISPs to think you are a spammer, blocking Autoresponders help build your brand trust and deliver more your messages. Also, as tempting as it is, purchasing lists or down- sales through email marketing. Email autoresponder software loading them from other websites is not recommended. You want will help you automatically send both regular follow up email and to know the people on your list choose to be a part of what you trigger-based emails. For example, you can use autoresponders have to say. that send special offers to customers rewarding them for signing up or regular email updates that educate the user about your Another important element to keeping a clean list is using a product or service. Autoresponders can’t fully automate your double opt-in confirmation for your email sign up forms. The sub- business but they do save a lot of your valuable time. scriber will have to confirm their selection to participate in your email lists and the double opt-in offers greater protection from spambots. TRAvEL & TOURISM: “TIMING IS RIGhT“ Communicating travel information can be tricky, the world is a big place and your clients have different needs when planning a trip. You need solutions to cultivate relationships with current and potential clients and keep them informed on travel deals and advisories. Travel industry email marketing is all about content and timing. By scheduling messaging and leveraging subscription management tools you can increase your email list subscribers and incorporate segmentation data from your site visitors. For travel and tourism professionals the challenge is often how to drive people to their website and increase destination purchases. Usually this is done through some type of promotional messaging about a specific trip, the site itself or the company marketing efforts. Newsletter Email marketing is the perfect addition to other marketing campaign tactics for the travel industry. By creating email newsletters agents can promote travel deals, create email subscription forms to build lists and preference information and incorporate email into their multi-channel marketing efforts. Email marketing with mobile marketing and social sharing is a very successful combination for tourism professionals. By creating posts in social networks and distributing previews of deals through SMS marketers can drive higher newsletter open rates and visits to their website. © mailigen ltd. all rights reserved 01/2012. mailigen email marketing Solutions Phone: (+1) 718 303 1864
  5. 5. 12 SecretS to SucceSSful email marketing 5 7. get the timing right 9. enable mobile You have put a lot of work into creating an email marketing plan The rate of mobile device growth is outpacing developments in and great content, now when should you send it out? You want desktops and laptops and decision makers are using their mobile to optimize your open and click through rates for your email, so devices more than ever. You can safely assume your email market- knowing the best day and time of day to send your email is a key ing messages are going to be read on a mobile device. element to your program. Sending on the wrong day can nega- tively impact your email measures. The answer is: it depends. A recent survey by Return Path states 16% of emails were accessed via mobile devices in March 2011 vs. 9.2% the prior year. Success If you are emailing a message for a global audience, you should with Mobile SMS and email marketing depends on the ability of space the time of day depending on time zones. The best open your messages to be viewed properly on mobile devices. It can rates for email are typically close to lunchtime. Monday’s are a be challenging to create easy to consume messages for mobile difficult day for open rates on email marketing messages. Most due to the different operating systems, service providers and ca- studies support sending email on Tuesday and Wednesday for the pabilities on each phone. Optimizing emails for multiple platform best results. performance is an important component of your email marketing program so subscribers can respond to your call to action. Since these are averages, it’s important to test and review your metrics. If you are planning an event, the message should be When implementing mobile messaging, test the formatting on sent multiple times and include reminders up until the day of the multiple operating systems and devices to ensure messages can event. You may find a different pattern between your own lists be deciphered and see if text-only email messages get better depending on the list segments. Leverage your data, and deter- results than other formats. The best way to optimize your email mine the best day and time for your deliverability. formatting is to ask your subscribers how they want their email delivered. Then test your message format for each segment to en- sure deliverability. Include a plain text version of every message 8. enable Sharing and keep text inks simple to accommodate the smaller screen. Social media is exploding and using social tools with email mar- Another key component of mobile messaging is design. Make keting you can deliver even better results. Build an integrated so- sure you understand the number of pixels wide enough to make cial strategy for your email marketing program, it will help you use the message viewable. Also, don’t use large image links, as they both vehicles to engage customers and build relationships. Cre- can be frustrating to wait for the download. Additionally, make ate your email marketing objectives with social sharing in mind sure you consider the landing page the email links subscribers to; for a coordinated effort. you want to make sure the pages are also optimized for mobile devices. You can coordinate social sharing with your email campaign by using the same brand standards in your messaging. Review your content for opportunities to use elements of an email for social sharing or embed social sharing capabilities in your email to en- courage sharing. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all allow mem- bers to send content to their network. The efficiency of social sharing relies on how you present your content to the reader. A great way to get the most out of your social sharing is to conduct A/B testing of your emails to determine which subscribers use social sharing and what social sites they prefer. Once you have subscriber prefer- ences analyzed you can encourage your readers to share content, links to social profiles, build email lists and conduct viral social media campaigns. © mailigen ltd. all rights reserved 01/2012. mailigen email marketing Solutions Phone: (+1) 718 303 1864
  6. 6. 12 SecretS to SucceSSful email marketing 6 10. teSt, teSt, teSt 11. meaSure Enlightened marketers know their email service providers (ESP’s) how do you know if your campaign is successful? You measure reporting tools are a critical element to successful email market- the performance and make adjustments based on the data. ing programs. Testing takes the guesswork out of your email mar- Some key measures you should always review: Open Rates, Click keting programs. Testing allows marketers to see which emails are Rates, Unsubscribe Rates, Bounce Rates and measuring how performing and responding to the call to action, telling marketers many people responded positively to the call to action. they are delivering the most relevant email messages to their sub- scribers. Open rates determine how many people opened your email and it is important to track this rate over time. Compelling subject A/B testing is a great tool for to test variables in the message, in- lines, date and time the email was sent and list management can cluding subject lines or send times. Set predefined limits to au- impact open rates. Click Rates are tied to your call to action. If tomatically send the best performing email to subscribers after your click rates are low, revisit your message links – are you insert- you analyze test results and modify the email campaign. Constant ing too many, is the wording correct, do they compete? If you are testing is an email deliverability best practice to improving deliv- crafting messages with multiple links, you may want to consider erability rates and interaction. segmenting the lists for a more focused call to action. Most ESPs also offer some type of testing tool that reviews your Success in email marketing requires keeping a quality list with the messaging for spam triggers, typos and code. Some even gener- right segmentation and managing the pulse of your message dis- ate screenshots of how your email campaigns are going to look in tribution. Track your unsubscribe rate for campaigns and make every email program. These tools are also helpful in determining content or list adjustments to improve your unsubscribe rates. how spam filters and email firewalls will view your message, and then scrub your message for improved deliverability. In addition Bouncebacks are also categorized in two ways: soft bounces and to checking email programs, make sure to test browser-based hard bounces. Soft bounces are email addresses that are valid but email services and double check how your hTML and CSS appears could not be delivered at the time you sent your message. hard in the browser. bounces are undeliverable, usually because the email address no longer exists or there is a typo in the address. Soft bounces tend to be temporary, and your ESP should have tools to keep the email on your list and try again or delete the email after several REAL ESTATE : “REACh A vAST AUDIENCE” Competition in the real estate industry has never been greater. The best real estate agents understand their business is built on relationships. Agents can differentiate themselves by their ability to create marketing buzz around what properties they need to sell and source what they need to buy. Successful agents utilize email marketing solutions because it is enables them to be timely and reach a vast audience. Mailigen provides real estate agents with low cost solutions to send out scheduled bulk email newsletters to existing and potential customers. Newsletters allow agents to distribute great content and promote new properties, provide detailed property information or share real estate market trends and recent sales. Once distributed, you can follow up with automated responses and encourage social sharing of property information, increasing your market reach. Use clean, segmented lists to send information about properties in subscribers’ demographics and requirements reaching thousands of interested buyers at a time. © mailigen ltd. all rights reserved 01/2012. mailigen email marketing Solutions Phone: (+1) 718 303 1864
  7. 7. 12 SecretS to SucceSSful email marketing 7 attempts. hard bounces are no longer valid for your list and should be removed in order to avoid being blocked by an ISP. Be sure to read your SMTP replies, the header message telling you why the email bounced and make the appropriate adjustments. Remember to optimize your future campaigns based on these results. 12. collect cuStomer feeDback This is an often over looked aspect of email marketing programs, but it is important. Successful email marketing depends on keeping subscribers happy with the delivery of your messaging to their inbox or mobile device. Use the data available in your ESP’s reporting and analytics tools to analyze subscriber behavior and make adjustments to improve email marketing programs. But remember from time to time, ask your subscribers for their feedback directly. ESP survey capabilities allow you to ask subscribers for feedback, content sugges- tions and deliverability improvement ideas. Another way to collect email marketing program feedback are ISP feedback loops. Being reported as spam by your subscribers can affect your ability to deliver your messages. ISPs provide feedback loops and forward complaints from email recipients to the original sender. ISPs collect this feedback through spam reports, email clients and other means and participating in the feedback loop will help you keep your lists clean and avoid damaging your reputation. SummarY Successful email marketing requires more than writing a few paragraphs of copy and sending it out to your distribution list. Email campaigns can be complex, require careful strategic thought, planning and testing and the right follow up. Mailigen has the easy to use tools you need to generate action with powerful email messages and newsletters. If you want to learn more about Mailigen, take it for a test drive before choosing your Email marketing solution, we offer a 30 day free trial! © mailigen ltd. all rights reserved 01/2012. mailigen email marketing Solutions Phone: (+1) 718 303 1864
  8. 8. 12 SecretS to SucceSSful email marketing 8 Published By Mailigen Aspazijas bulvaris 30, Riga, Lv-1050, Latvia Phone: (+1) 718 303 1864 Copyright© 2012 Mailigen Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Mailigen Ltd. www.mailigen.com

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